Congratulations are in order for NAZ President and CEO Sondra Samuels who received the AmeriCorps' Lifetime of Service award. During a celebration of their 30 year anniversary last week in Washington DC, AmeriCorps recognized Sondra's work in community that has consistently aligned with the organization's mission. When presenting Sondra with the award, Director of AmeriCorps State and National Sonali Nijhawan said, "Today's Lifetime Achievement Award winner has built a career dedicated to not only supporting underserved communities but disrupting the way we think about poverty eradication in our country."
Sondra joined the first class of AmeriCorps members in 1994, where she served as a leader in the Philadelphia neighborhood's Weed-n-Seed initiative, which focused on weeding out crime and violence while planting seeds of hope. She built relationships with community members and neighbors, as she lived in the same area she served, and they marched for peace, planted gardens, and ensured the safety of children.
She continues this work today as the founder and inspirational leader of NAZ, where she is laser-focused on the mission of ending generational poverty and closing opportunity gaps through education for all low-income children of color. In her remarks at the awards ceremony Sondra said, "We have to close those gaps, and we have to provide opportunities for our kids so they can blow us all away."
The NAZ community celebrates Sondra and her lifetime of service!